Gombe State All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Alhaji Habu Muazu spoke with reporters in Gombe, the state capital, on his chances of picking the party’s governorship ticket and wining the poll. Excerpts:
You have started meetings and consultations with party leaders and stakeholders since last year. How would you describe their response?
So far so good, but I want to make it very clear that I started this meetings and consultations, considering the fact that my party, APC is an opposition party in the state, and there was the need to make the party attractive to attract followers and supporters. The party cannot be attractive without being lively. So I felt the only way we can make our party lively to attract followers is by engaging party leaders, stakeholders and our supporters in series of activities, because where there is lively activities people will always come. That was why since early last year, apart from the usual meetings and consultations with party leaders at wards, local governments and state levels I have initiated and sponsor series of activities in collaboration with the party to bring our members together as a deliberate strategy to build and sustain APC in Gombe State. You are aware I recently gave out funds to the party to rent offices in all the electoral wards and local governments to support the reelection bid of Mr. President, we have done some rallies in support of Buhari this is all in a bid to add color and value to our party in the state. We are doing this to motivate our supporters and to give them the assurance that APC is in the state, despite not in government in the state. Politics is all about engaging the people and we cannot succeed as an opposition party without engaging the people and building the party and I thank God the people of Gombe have accepted the party and they are fully ready for change come 2019. I do all my activities in collaboration with the party because I respect party leadership and supremacy. Any aspirant that says he is disengaging himself from the party leadership is not a party man and it a dangerous trend because where you have a governor that doesn’t believe in party supremacy, it would be difficult to pull back such governor when errors are being committed. So, I subscribe to party leadership.
These activities involve money. People are saying you have a lot of money and that’s why you started your campaign very early…
Is not about having money but is all about sacrifice, like I told you earlier is not all about me but about building a viable party, my aspiration is secondary I cannot achieve my dreams and aspiration without having a strong platform therefore we must first of all be willing to sacrifice in building and uniting our great party in the state before we start talking of our aspiration. If is about money I am sure and you know that there are people that are also eyeing the governorship that are far richer than me. I am doing this not because I am desperate to be a governor or because I am rich, but because I believed in the vision of President Mohammadu Buhari and the APC. That is why during my meetings and consultations with party leaders I always advised them to beware of politicians that will come at the rush hour to woo them with money because if they collect such monies they are mortgaging their future and that of their children. I encourage them to assess the political antecedents of all contestants, considering their contributions to the society, humanity and the development of the party before making the decision on whom to support or vote for.
Go and ask those that know me. They will testify to the fact that I am not doing this because I want to contest election, I am a true politician and a grassroots mobilizer, I have been accommodative and a giver right from my childhood is something that I inherited and you cannot take that away from me. Is not about having a lot of money, you can have a little and decide to share to touch lives and you can have plenty and decide to keep it to yourself, for me as a politician I value people and I care for their needs, that is why every time you come to my house you see people and I always reach out to them. That is why I do all my activities openly, I don’t wait until in the night then I call some few people and we close ourselves in a room in the name of political meetings. Politics is for the people and not a cult for a selected few. You can testify anywhere I go I engage the people and I invite the press to even cover it live, so that everybody will know what we are doing and they can ask us question.
We have no fewer than 10 people aspiring to be next governor of Gombe State. What gives you the confidence that you will secure the APC ticket?
Even if in the APC we have 100 aspirants, there will just be one governor. And why do we have the majo rity of the aspirants are in APC? It is because it is the platform that offers an alternative. For me, there are only two parties that can present candidates in Gombe State and they are the PDP and the APC. The PDP is shut. And why do I say so? It is because whoever will run on the platform of the PDP must have the backing of the present governor, except we are deceiving ourselves. The only platform that is open is the APC. So, you have people coming to it. My duty is to sell myself to the delegates that I have what it takes to win victory for the party.
What do you consider as your selling points?
Like I said earlier, I am in the APC not because of any personal gains, but because I believe in the vision and ideology of President Mohammadu Buhari, which I have always subscribed to. As a team player, I will run an all inclusive government by engaging the leadership of the party. We shall run a transparent government geared towards touching the lives of people at all level as an experience politician that has been on ground I know our people and I understand their problems more than any other aspirants. Because of my philanthropic gesture, I have initiated projects and assisted in executing projects in all the 114 electoral wards across the state, and there is no polling unit in the state that you will not meet two or more persons that know me personally. Why? Because I am touching the lives of families by giving out scholarships, buying SSCE, NECO and JAMB forms to students, apart from settling medical bills of persons that I don’t even know. And I have been doing this long before thinking of aspiring for governorship.
Go out and investigate among all those aspiring. I am the most accessible. I have a cordial relationship with the traditional institution. I respect them and they see me as one of there own. I have a very cordial relationship with religious leaders and groups, both Christian and Muslims, that is why whenever you come to my house you see both Christian and Muslims eating together without any form of discrimination and I always tell my supporters not to antagonise or discriminate each other because of ethnicity or religion, I am working towards uniting our party supporters not dividing them, we don’t need to bring divisive factors to destroy our party because of political competition. I have done a lot to the society that is enough to sell me to the electorates, but that is not to say that I am completely perfect but if you are to rate me with other contestants I think I can stand tall to say I am the most outstanding.
Why do you think you can win the primary?
I am a dogged fighter, very courageous. As a young man, I am not scared of challenges because I believe in myself. That is why I am not afraid of investing in developing the party. I am from a respected royal family. You ask people who have interacted with me as a politician; they will tell you, I am a straightforward person and I am very honest and caring. I have also gone round the state and I don’t know any aspirant that is not taking Habu Muazu serious. I don’t need to disclose the steps I am taking to get my party ticket the most important thing is that no one can deny the fact that I am on ground and fully ready for the contest, I am not the type of politician that only show face during elections and disappear immediately after election. I am a complete politician not afraid of any form of challenges so I am ready for the contest with God on my side and with the support of the people, we shall surely be victorious. Like I mentioned earlier, my duty is to sale myself to the delegates and convinced them that I have what it takes to win victory for the party.
– The Nation